Before long, we’ll be in the season of Advent, which is a time of great hope and anticipation. We anticipate taking hold of the great promises of God—the promises wrapped up in the person of Jesus.
But before we can take hold of something, our hands need to be empty. Empty hands are not so easy to maintain. We spend our lives grasping at so many things—relationships, possessions, achievements, happiness, even a “right relationship to God.” Now is a good time to empty our hands, our arms, and our hearts so that we can receive God’s gifts. Imagine trying to hold a newborn with a bag of groceries in your arms!
This is an especially appropriate time of year for emptying, because in just a few weeks, numerous media and corporations will be goading us toward the most feverish and obsessive sort of grasping. Magazines will show us how to have the most stylish holiday ever. Shopping malls will try to tell us what we need. Even certain family dynamics might set up expectations for spending too much money, putting on too many dinners, or trying to send gifts and cards to too many people. What do we tend to grasp as November rolls toward December? The Perfect Christmas.
It’s not too soon to condition ourselves toward different goals and priorities.
This week, do one simple thing when you pray. Hold out your arms, open your hands, and turn them palms up. Stay in that position, one of openness and receptivity toward God.
Do you have questions about the upcoming season of Advent? Share your questions, and I’ll answer some of them on the blog in the coming weeks.